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[1987-06-11-AJPW] Jumbo Tsuruta & Tiger Mask II vs Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara

Superstar Sleeze

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Jumbo Tsuruta & Tiger Mask II vs Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara - AJPW 6/11/87

Let the war begin! Probably my biggest blind spot is the late 80s Jumbo vs Tenryu that changed the game in All Japan. Jumbo vs Choshu was native vs native but there was still an outsider/invader element to it with Choshu being from New Japan. With Choshu returning to New Japan and the gaijin well drying up, Baba is forced to split up Jumbo & Tenryu and forever change the All Japan booking paradigm. I understand the backstage reasons why they were split up but what happened onscreen before this match because they looked pretty pissed at each other already. The crowd was red hot at the prospect of Jumbo and Tenryu! 

We start with Misawa and Hara. Jumbo & Tenryu was electric throughout this match and the real selling point, but Misawa was a close second. He doesnt have his 90s presence but he was an offensive dynamo in this match. Hara is the perfect heel lieutenant very Taue like. Hara bowls Misawa over, but Misawa reverses on mat and nails a nice spin heel kick. They jockey over wrist control. Misawa wins but Hara pushes him into Tenryu's corner. Tenryu looks to put Misawa away early Enziguiri I thought it was going to be a sloppy powerbomb but it was a shoulderbreaker instead, a nerve-racking moment. Tenryu figure-4's the head. Tenryu slashing with chops, Misawa responds with swift kicks. Tenryu facelocks him and tags out. Nice stiff double chop by Hara. Misawa back suplex and Jumbo in for first time. Jumbo bowls over Hara and goes over and chops Tenryu! Crowd OOOOOO and Aaaaahhsss! Very telling taht Tenryu didnt do that but Jumbo initiated. It felt like Jumbo wanted revenge for something. That something I dont know and would love if someone filled in the blank for me. Shortly thereafter, the crowd gets what they came for...Jumbo vs Tenryu in the ring! 

Tenryu & Hara double chop Jumbo and Tenryu suplexes Jumbo. Tenryu tags out to Hara. Nice little tease there. We didnt get the full blow-out yet. Jumbo fires up on Hara, High Knee and Jumbo yanks Hara over to their corner. Misawa nails a picture perfect dropkick great form and extension. Misawa hits the reverse crossbody headbutt that he would continue to do in his golden years. He does the classic Misawa feign over the ropes and dropkicks him hard. Hara takes a huge bump into the railing. Best moment thus far besides the Jumbo opening salvo on Tenryu. Misawa allows himself to close control and Hara tags out. Tenryu stiff slashing chops and Slingshot Suplex! Jumbo loses it not only saves Misawa but wont stop stomping Tenryu in the head. Hara distracts Jumbo on the outside as Tenryu makes Misawa carry his weight. Misawa uses the Baba Neckbreaker Drop, nice Misawa baseball slide. Another great highspot to follow up with the Top Rope Splash onto Tenryu on the floor! Misawa is on fire! Perfect so they dont blow the Jumbo vs Tenryu matchup yet and use Misawa here as substitute. Misawa Belly to Belly Suplex and then a Somersault Splash from the top rope. Misawa rocks! He tags out! Here we go...

Jumbo is ROARING! HIGH KNEE! He is fired up! Another HIGH KNEE! He is rocking! Crowd is loving this. Tenryu snuffs this out with a Back Suplex and a quick tag. Hara hits another back suplex. I love how they are doing Jumbo & Tenryu in short bursts with Jumbo getting a little more offense each time. Hara wins control and Tenryu tags back in to hit to TRUCK him with a  Lariat. Dick move/ Jumbo becomes a man possessed whenever he sees Tenryu and just FIRES THE FUCK UP! Jumbo starts throwing 'bows, Mack Truck Lariat! Jumbo ties him into a chinlock, which I dont think vibe with the psychology thus far. He holds Tenryu in place for Misawa missile dropkick. He dropkicks him so hard that Tenryu ends up in his corner and tags out to Hara. Not smart tag wrestling. Misawa rifles Hara with kicks! He looks great! Misawa suplex for two. Tags out to Jumbo with the Jumbo team firmly in control. Jumbo Dory-esque Euro Uppercuts. Abdominal Stretch. Tenryu casually walks in and SLAPS THE TASTES OUT OF JUMBO'S MOUTH! Oh shit it is on! Tenryu blocks the receipt! Tag out by Hara and Tenryu Enziguiri leads to a tight, tight sleeper, looks like a choke. Crowd firmly on Jumbo's side. Misawa saves, but Hara tags in and applies the sleeper to Jumbo. Jumbo seems to be fading. Misawa saves again. Hara wants the sleeper again, BUT Jumbo drops him on his head! HOLY SHIT! That Backdrop Driver would NOT have looked out of place in 1997. WOW! Misawa tags in and piledriver on Hara! Tenryu saves. Misawa Frogsplash! 1-2-NO! It is cool how many Misawa moves he is doing. Jumbo high knee as he tags back in, meaty chops on Hara. Jumbo misses high knee, Hara pops him and tags out to Tenryu. Tenryu gives him a wicked left hook lariat! JBL would have creamed himself on that one. Top Rope Reverse Elbow for two! Tenryu and Hara double team Jumbo this would become a theme as we approach the finish. 

They love the Lariat Sandwich as their double team and Tenryu hits a DDT but it is very Tenryu-y how he does it. Jumbo demolishes Hara in a lariat battle. Will he tag out? Yes! Misawa spinkick! Misawa German on Tenryu! But he is too close to the ropes! Misawa dropkick on Tenryu. Misawa tries for another Somersault Splash but Tenryu was supposed to catch him and Powerbomb him. A for Effort, they almost pull it off and still looks pretty good. Tenryu gets two as Jumbo saves and Hara BLASTS Jumbo with a lariat. Hara headbutts Misawa as he pwoders. That takes care of Misawa as Jumbo is left to fend for himself against these two stiff pricks. They Lariat Sandwich him to death that Joe Higuchi in an awesome green number has lost controland is forced to ring the bell for a disqualification ostensibly for too much double teaming. Jumbo lets the crowd know he won and he is still standing but is pissed about what happened I am assuming, I dont understand Japanese, but that seems to be what they would be portraying. Just to make sure I got the result right I checked Cagematch and they confirmed the DQ finish. 

Very action-based match! This reminds me a lot of the 80s Crockett and 80s All Japan work where there is so much movement, moves and action it is all a blur. It is all good stuff but there were times when I thought they could have let things breathe. Two things make this great in my mind and a cut above your standard 1980s workrate action-packed match. Misawa was on fire here and looked like a future star. He was crushing it. Easy to say with hindsight but he did not shy away from the bright lights. He let it rip it. Really what propels this match is the awesome Jumbo and Tenryu interactions. Jumbo was full of piss & vinegar. Tenryu was his usual prickly, contemptible self. It just made for a great mix. It was the perfect amount to whet your appetite but leaving you wanting more and thankfully there is so much more! **** 

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  • paul sosnowski changed the title to [1987-06-11-AJPW] Jumbo Tsuruta & Tiger Mask II vs Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara

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